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Jul 16 2010

Interview about the aftershock from boobquake

I was recently interviewed by my local newspaper about the way boobquake is still affecting my life. It actually came out on Sunday, but I was so busy with TAM stuff that I missed it. Here’s the Q&A session from the article:

Photo by John Terhune, Journal and Courier

Question: What are you writing for the HarperCollins book?

Answer:
It is a tongue-in-cheek piece about atheist Christmas toys. I had a piece on my blog where I photoshopped an atheist Barbie because a female Episcopalian minister made a minister Barbie doll. I thought, “I want an atheist Barbie doll,” and I made it with all of these atheist stereotypes, like with a baby in a paper bag. So (the editor) saw this and asked me to write a new piece for the book. It is really cool and will be out this fall.

Q: Is this a launching point for you to do this humorous take on skepticism?

A: Definitely. That is how my personality is anyway. People see me as a more aggressive atheist, because I am outspoken, but I like to do it with a hint of humor. I do plan to keep blogging and talking about this and writing more in the future.

Q: Tell me about The Amaz!ng Meeting.

A: It’s the annual meeting of the James Randi Educational Foundation. They educate people to debunk paranormal, supernatural things. I am going to be talking about boobquake there. I am personally excited because there are a lot of celebrities talking there, like Richard Dawkins, Penn and Teller, and Adam Savage from MythBusters.

Q: Do you go to this every year?

A: No, this is my first time and my blog readers raised the money for me to go. … I put up a request for donations to cover the trip because some of my readers said they would donate if I did. I got $1,600 in 10 hours. I am donating the extra money …

Q: Is there a time when science should not question people’s beliefs based in culture or religion?

A: I don’t think science can answer why or ethical questions. When science finds something to be factually true, it should be religion that changes to accept it, not the other way around. There are people who believe they can ignore science because it does not fit into their religious belief. I don’t think that is how the world should work.

Q: Knowing what you are capable of, would you ever use your platform for another issue to rally people?

A: The boobquake Facebook page has over 100,000 people as fans. So I have occasionally sent out links on articles I think are interesting or pieces about women’s rights in Iran. When I started my blog, I thought no one would ever read it. It was just for my friends. But now I know people read it, and I have some influence.

Q: What have you learned about people from this?

A: People are sort of starting to get fed up with ridiculous claims when they are not supported and especially when they are hurtful. When you use humor to go after these claims it is a very effective way to go after them.

Q: Have there been any drawbacks from boobquake?

A: It is a little humorous that I do have other academic accomplishments, and this is what I am internationally known for. But I figure I am still young and have a lot of time to make accomplishments in my research.

Q: Are people at University of Washington aware of you?

A: Yeah, I’ve actually been getting e-mails from people who are students and professors or Seattle atheists saying, “If you need a friend, we are totally here.” And that is totally cool since I don’t know anyone there, I already have people offering friendship.

I think this also serves as a perfect example as to why I blog instead of post videos to YouTube. Do I seriously talk like that, or is some of that transcript error? Sheesh ;)

I do like one of the comments on the article though:

Sorry, but I am a Christian. I will not be reading your chapter in a book and I will not be rooting for you. You sound like a thinking sort of gal, though, so I will be praying for you.

Yeah, go central Indiana! And to think I chose my words very carefully for this piece. Just imagine if that person went to my blog.

11 comments

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  1. 1
    Jewel of Toronto

    [unrelated] Check this one our BlagHag http://www.miller-mccune.com/c

  2. 2
    Aesoprox01

    Don’t worry, I’ll be rooting for all “thinking sort of gals”, including you. Keep doing what you’re doing. You have plenty of fans :-)

  3. 3
    Bad Wolf

    Jen – just a minor nit to pick, and I’m not absolutely certain, but I think you should use AFFECT instead of EFFECT in your opening link.Otherwise, I love the blog. Please keep a healthy sense of humor – it’s the best weapon to use against those who have far too much time on their hands, and who take themselves far too seriously.

  4. 4
    Jen

    Eww, fixed. Thanks. I hate that particular mistake

  5. 5
    LS

    For the record, I also live in the Seattle area and don’t really have any friends around here. I’d certainly love to attend any kind of “Blag Hag Fan Clab” that you set up once you got up here.

  6. 6
    libraboy

    Heh heh. Transcript error…(Sorry, but I am a Christian.) At least she’s apologizing. :)

  7. 7
    Ian Andreas Miller

    It’s great that you caught that!

  8. 8
    the_Siliconopolitan

    If it’s any consolation, I’ll dance naked under the oaktrees for you come full Moon.

  9. 9
    mcbender

    If that commenter had the presence of mind to recognise that it was the *being Christian* he/she ought to apologise for, rather than the conduct it led him/her to (for which the disingenuous apology was offered), we might actually have had some possibility of engaging him/her in rational discussion.

  10. 10
    RBH

    Sorry, but I am a Christian. I will not be reading your chapter in a book …

    Heaven forfend that she learn something about how other people think! I got the same sort of reaction when I offered to come to a fundamentalist church for an “Ask an atheist” session.

  11. 11
    PapaJay

    Jen,Don’t know that this is the right place, but thanks for the great blog. I found you through Hemant’s blog about a month ago and am now a daily visitor.

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